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Episode 301

What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

We explore votes for English, Indonesian and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve…

Episode 300

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

Episode 167

The Three Hardest Words in the English Language

Why learning to say “I don’t know” is one of the best things you can do.


Episode 72

“Leaving Black People in the Lurch”

Linguist and social commentator John McWhorter explains how good intentions may be hurting Black America — and where the word “motherf*cker” comes from….

Episode 158

Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?

Yes, it expands the mind but we usually don’t retain much — and then there’s the opportunity cost.

Episode 302

Why Learn Esperanto? (Earth 2.0 Series) (Special Feature)

A language invented in the 19th century and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once…

Episode 1

Steven Pinker: “I Manage My Controversy Portfolio Carefully”

By cataloging the steady march of human progress, the Harvard psychologist and linguist has become a very public intellectual. But the self-declared “polite Canadian” has managed to enrage people on…

Episode 228

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?

In our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home.

Episode 228

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Replay)

The gist: in our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home.


Episode 5

What Do Tom Sawyer and the Founder of Duolingo Have in Common?

Also: is there such a thing as too much science? With special guest Luis Von Ahn.

Episode 247

How to Win Games and Beat People

Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those…

Episode 110

Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?

The very long reach of Winston Churchill — and how the British government is remaking copyright law.

Episode 24

Are We Under Threat from a New Kind of Terror? (Replay)

Amaryllis Fox is a former C.I.A. operative and host of the Netflix show The Business of Drugs. She explains why intelligence work requires empathy, and she soothes Steve’s fears about…

Episode 477

Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates. (This is part of the

Episode 247

How to Win Games and Beat People (Replay)

Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those…

Episode 4

Ken Jennings on How a Midlife Crisis Led Him to Jeopardy! (Replay)

It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Jeopardy!’s newest host also holds the show’s “Greatest of All Time”…


Episode 249

The Longest Long Shot

When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn’t just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It was a sign of changing economics —…

Episode 45

How Much Better Do You Really Want to Be?

Also: why do we pad our speech with so much filler language?…

Episode 343

An Astronaut, a Catalan, and Two Linguists Walk Into a Bar…

In this live episode of “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,” we learn why New York has skinny skyscrapers, how to weaponize water, and what astronauts talk about in space….

Digging Up the Roots of Language

…It’s the work of linguist Quentin Atkinson, who sought to explain the connection between the size of populations and the complexity of language; specifically, that smaller populations use languages with…



EXTRA

Extra: Elvis Costello Full Interview

A conversation with the iconic singer-songwriter, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “How to Be Creative.”  …

Episode 246

How to Get More Grit in Your Life

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re…

Episode 330

Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview

Stephen Dubner’s conversation with the founder and longtime C.E.O. of Bridgewater Associates, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”…


Bruce Schneier Blazes Through Your Questions

…resources: one concerning how to choose secure passwords (and how quickly passwords can be broken), and one on how lousy most passwords actually are. Q: What’s your opinion of the




Episode 246

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Replay)

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re…